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San Francisco, CA, USA

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Dooley 4, San Francisco 4, Riley 4, Us 3, Adams 3, Clyde 3, California 2, David Chiu 2, Chiu 2, O'brien 2, Kasselman 2, Sacramento 2, New York City 2, Nance 1, Saito 1, The City 1, New York 1, Asia 1, France 1,
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  SFGTV    [untitled]  

    July 18, 2011
    1:00 - 1:30am PDT  

comment on this item? seeing none, public comment is closed. this is an action item, i believe, director. >> correct. president o'brien: ok. commissioners, do we have anybody that would like to put forward a motion? director adams? vice-president adams: i do agree with the woman who just spoke. however, i'm not a big fan of raising taxes, especially for small businesses. but the reality is we are in a financial crisis right now. and i read this over and over over the weekend. it is only a half a cent. they could have gone higher. i like the fact that this legislation is dedicated. it's not going into the general fund. our speaker spoke about -- you know, we are going to be getting a lot of parolees in this town.
public safety is a big deal in my district. we have issues right now and we call the police and it takes a while for them to get there. and it's a big deal. it's just the reality of what's happening in the state of california today. so i will put a motion in support of this half cent sales tax. president o'brien: does anybody want to comment on that first or anybody want to take a vote on that? commissioner clyde? commissioner clyde: i would like to comment before we vote. i too will be supporting this because i do and long have supported dedicated funding for the social safety net. i think that we should have something -- i have children and i don't know how people who have children -- i mean, it's very, very difficult when they're of age and are traveling back and forth across the city right now and you look across -- you look into asia and other cities that are exponentially safer than san
francisco. i mean, it's really frightening. so i support that funding. i understand that the state has taken away funding and we're simply replacing funding that we were dependent on for many years. that also argues for this. i thank the mayor for putting this forward. but i also agree with the woman who just spoke in public comment. personal services are not taxed. commercial rents are not taxed. there are many businesses where we have to start looking together, residents have to get together. there is a residential utilities tax in almost every jurisdiction in california. it's very small, but it adds up. you know, these little things with our 800,000 residents, a very little amount of money could fund some very important programs, like healthy france. so i really think we're going to have to get together and start talking about these revenue measures in addition, sales tax
can just not be the only solution, but right now, i'm going to support this. so thank you. president o'brien: commissioner riley? president riley: yes, under the circumstances, we do need to come up with a solution. but i do have a question. what kind of outreach efforts will you do and what's the response? >> thanks for the question. i think there are a couple of answers we've had. several meetings internally at the mayor's office as we have been thinking through this, we met with small business network, chamber of commerce, a number of stake holders to get their view on this idea. the mayor has also raised this as he has been going out and doing town hall meetings and
merchant walks and been trying to talk to people about this and gauge the opinion. i think the response -- first of all, the second part of the answer to that is i think there is also still a long way to go on this. and that coming here to the small business commission is one of our first steps as we go through this process. so we have introduced this legislation. we're going to go to the board. so we're still in the process of doing more outreach and starting to have conversations with you and then subsequently with others. so part of the goal here is to hear your thoughts and your feedback and there will be more discussions to come. but beyond that, i think what we've heard as we've brought this up with people are similar comments to what we've heard
today, that i don't think anybody is thrilled about the position that we're in and nobody takes any joy in having to place tax measures on the ballot, and everybody is kardashianed about what the impacts of any policy decision we have are going to be on small businesses in the city because i think it's pretty clear, at least from my perspective, that that is not a part of our economy that we can afford to take for granted. and i think the mayor shares that view. with that being said, i think people understand the situation we're in. as a number of you have expressed, that we've got a significant financial short fall and that -- you know, i think one of the things that we've heard that's really important to people is that when we're trying to address the budget problem, we're not just trying to address it by throwing taxes out there.
that we are trying to approach it strategically and with a plan that involves a lot of hard decisions and having to ask a lot of different people to take part in the solutions, and i think it would be a very different story if we were just saying ok, we've got a budget problem, we can't think of what to do, let's just throw some taxes out there. we're trying to work with labor on pension reform and we're trying to cut costs in city government and so we're trying to have a mixed approach. that's been one of the clear pieces of feedback that we've heard from stake holders, that we're open to this, but it has to be part of a broader package of solutions, so we've really tried to take that to heart. and lastly, i think people understand again that it's not ideal, but that there is an opportunity here for better or worse, and i don't think any of us, like i said, is happy about being in this situation or is
thrilled about what's going on in sacramento, but but that there's an opportunity here to have a responsible measure on the ballot that actually takes advantage of the situation in sacramento where we can generate some revenue as part of our plan while still lowering our sales tax rate. so i think that's kind of the big picture similar to what i've heard from the commissioners here today. that nobody is thrilled about it. but that they understand that if it's taken, it's part of a larger package that this is a reasonable approach, and to date, we have heard concerns, but we have not heard organized groups that have come to us and said this is unreasonable, take it away. to the contrary, we've heard most groups say we understand why you're doing this, and it
seems like compared to a lot of the other options that are potentially out there that could end up on the balloting that this is abapproach that is acceptable and that people can support. president riley: you do need 2/3 of the vote. >> we do need 2/3 of the vote, so it's a high hurdle. president o'brien: commissioner dooley? commissioner dooley: i just want to reemphasize what some of my fellow commissioners said, which is you can't keep going to the same group over and over again. the small businesses in particular. you know, they don't have a strong advocacy behind them except for us, and there are a lot of folks out there that are not paying their fair share, and i feel like while we will support this as an emergency thing, i just cannot emphasize more strongly that these other folks have to share the burden too and, you know, we're kind of
tired of them paying no sales taxes. that is just wrong. that then other folks are burdened with a higher tax burden. i really would like to hear from the mayor that those other possibilities are actively being explored, because i think that's extremely important. my other comment is i'm still very uncomfortable with the one-year -- you know, if the state doesn't do it in one year. i would like to hear you go back and extend that for a much longer period of time. if they do this three years from now and folks are not going to want a car, that half a percent of a big ticket item is a real disadvantage. i would like to see this extended throughout the life of
the increase. i just think that -- otherwise it could become a burden -- especially people who are buying large items. >> thank you, commissioner. i absolutely appreciate those comments and understand and will relay them to the mayor. thank you very much. president o'brien: i totally agree with everything that has been said. i think the mayor has managed to engender a lot of good faith and a lot of genuine desire to work with him in these tough budget times. you know, i never thought i would see the day where i'd be even for a second entertaining the idea of a tax. i thought i would never be one of those people. but it's easier when you're just walking down the street to say no taxes than when you're in a position that makes a difference.
that said, it is pretty gentle. we are going from reduction -- we're still seeing a net reduction, which i think is really good. and the fact that this is an integral part of the mayor's budget plan, which i think he's doing a really good job on and everybody's supporting it, including labor and other stake holders. we've got to support this, in my opinion. but i would like to modify the motion on the table to add a line that we do not want to see a situation where that 1% in a year -- i mean, the answer that he gave is probably essentially and necessarily technical in nature regarding legal policy. i kind of half understand it. but if that's the only component that's going to be locked into the uncertainty, what goes on at the state budget, then i'm kind of thinking, well, if we want to
remove other things that are unpredictable because of the state, ok. but if this one thing has to be engaged to it, then leave it there for as long as it needs to be there. and if they bring it back, then it gets removed automatically. i just don't want to leave open the possibility that they can encrease it after 12 months. and we're not protective with a mandatory statement that says we have to take it away. i'd rather see it in there. so i'd like to propose, if i may, to somehow amend the motion that the language is in there that that's locked in there. i don't know how to put that in there. if i could get some help with that. >> i would just saito tally agree with you on that and i agree with commissioner dooley, to purport the motion to help support this. but however, i would like to add in the motion that if the state
rescinds the sales tax, that this state tax would go away. president o'brien: without a year lock. >> would that be if the state reimposes? >> yes. if the state reimposes, this goes away. president o'brien: if i may, i -- >> if i may, i appreciate the suggestion. just in terms of a process, we're going to now have this legislation before the board of supervisors, so if it pleases the commission and it fits the intent, one thing that you might consider adding is encouraging the mayor and the board of supervisors to consider amendments to the legislation to extend that period of time. since we actually would have to make that amendment at the board that would provide a direction about the commission's intent, i think that the mayor and the
board could use and have a specific direction of what type of action you'd like to see in that process. >> that would then put the amendment on there to rescind this if the state comes back. president o'brien: do you have that, chris? >> yes. >> commissioners, we do not have a second. >> second. president o'brien: we do now. >> and very loudly. president o'brien: do we need to take a roll call? >> would you like a roll call? president o'brien: yeah, please. commissioner adams. vice-president adams: yes. >> commissioner clyde. commissioner clyde: yes. >> commissioner dooley. commissioner dooley: yes. >> commissioner kasselman. commissioner kasselman: yes. >> commissioner o'brine:
president o'brien: yes. >> commissioner riley. president riley: yes. >> that item passes. item number six, discussion and possible action to make recommendation to the board of supervisors. file number 101497. police code prohibiting the use of open top buses. amending section 46 to clarify that the definition in that section does not include open top tour buses. amending to clarify that noise restrictions do not apply to city agencies, adding a new section for the use of amplified sound on seeing buses in san francisco, except where sound is only audible to individual users. we have a presentation by a legislative aid to supervisor david chiu. >> good evening, i am here representing the office of supervisor david chiu, the sponsor of the legislation before you.
supervisor chiu introduced this offensive coordinator nance several months ago in order to address noise concerns from open air tour buses with amplified sound. while we all recognize the importance of tourism as one of the primary economic engines for the city, supervisor chiu has been hearing from many residents across the city that their quality of life is being negatively impacted. they can destroy the peace and quiet of residential streets as well as hinder the enjoyment of those utilizing outdoor seating and other amenities outside the corridors. we also worked with other groups to come up with a proposal before you. the legislation would require tour bus operators to discontinue using electronic amplification systems in their ohm air sightseeing buses. in 2010, new york city enacted similar legislation and tour bus
destinations around the world have been using headphones systems for years. also notably, recently in san francisco, there's a precedent, one of the major tour bus companies switched entirely over to headphones systems. as the legislation is currently written, it goes into effect in july of 2011, so obviously we have to make that amendment. and we will be meeting with representatives from different tour bus operators in the next few weeks to come up with some ideas of when a good sound and reasonable implementation timeline, what that would look like. new york city gave their companies a five-year window to implement the changes with percentages every year of how much the fleets had to be moved over to loud speakers. but in san francisco, because we don't have a permitting system
like new york city does, we sort of -- we just have to choose a date and we can't phase it in. so last week, i had the opportunity to meet with a policy committee and they made several recommendations, all of which the sponsor is very open to. i'm happy to answer your questions. thank you. president o'brien: commissioners, any questions? >> are you going to include the open-sided vehicles along with open-topped? >> yes, we're talking to the city attorney about changing the wording. >> thank you. president o'brien: commissioner kasselman? commissioner kasselman: do you know the cost? >> they said per bus it's $12,000 to $15,000, so to buy a whole new bus with the system in place, it's like 80,000 to
100,000, but if you're just retro fitting an existing bus, it's around 1 to 15. . >> the same would apply to the guy who goes across the bay bridge? this is a huge amount of money to spend? >> of applied to all. it would fit the definition. >> have you heard from the tour bus companies? what are they called? >> generally, i think that they are concerned, especially if it is a short time line that we are meeting with them to discuss what is reasonable. >> thank you. >> commissioners, any other
questions? >> i have been to other countries and i have seen a lot of their tour bus in use is -- tour buses using headphones. it would save money for those companies that don't need to have an english toward -- tour for a japanese tour. >> i agree that the large obnoxious buses needed to be reined in. i am sensitive to the issue of it. this is raised with the very small cable cars and possibly this could be phased in for a time line given to the smaller
operators and it might take them longer to make a change. we were dealing with limited life performance and amplified sound. it graduated. there is a little amplified sound and big amplified sound. i don't know how you would like to do with it but that is what she just expressed. >> we are looking if there is a way to separate out smaller operators? as far as i know, there are 10 major sightseeing companies in the city that have opened their buses. >> they seem to be multiplying. i see more of those double decker buses than i ever have.
>> and even the small ones, i happen to live on a tourist site. those little small things, they are so loud. they are. the are really very intrusive. personally, i appreciate this because i have to year that same talk like 20 times a day. >> i have received lots of feedback from across the city. i would to speak to the alamo square neighborhood association. we got e-mail from all across the city where people made the same statements all over and over again. >> i like this legislation because where i live on 20, i hear them every day.
sometimes, early saturday morning going up market street. i do like this. i have the same concerns. there are some smaller and smaller operators in the city. i have actually been -- if there's something that we can phase in with those operators, this is the big double decker buses that are really interested and i would hate to penalize the smaller mom and pop operators which there are very few of in the city. we can grandfathered them in and so we can meet these operations
immediately, give them something they can afford. they have been here for generations of with like to see something working out with those type of people. the big ones, do something, shut them up. >> to do you have any plan for the smaller operators? >> well, i guess my plan would be to go and see if we could have them on a separate time line as the larger companies. >> i wanted to use an example where it is readily achievable of that concept and where it must be achieved over a certain time with the small businesses. it might take a longer amount of time. we have an example with our
requirements, businesses have to come into compliance but over time. >> did we have any concerns or did we have any that wanted to be invoiced already? >> they have been addressed. >> we have to go to public comment. >> members of the public might have three minutes to address the commission. >> i am a surviving resident and i very much appreciate this legislation that has been presented. we have attended many meetings on this subject and it truly is affecting the quality of life
for the residents. we were talking with them on many issues and they are a tough group to go against. they are very big and they are hard to handle and they have made some compromises. we very much appreciate your support. thank you. >> any further public comment? take your time. >> good afternoon, commissioners. i was here on another matter but this one will be close to my hard. i saw them flying by. the downside would be that these operators to bring their
vehicles down our streets, they do at least show off our street even though they are flying by. the downside is that those double-deckers', they go down and union street and they all turn right on buchanan. they don't go all the way down. they can go straight down the mosque. perhaps there are some routing issues that had been brought about. the upside is that anything that we could get to see our street is an advantage and i do support them keep in the noise at reasonable levels. if it is during business hours are reasonable hours of operation, then i can see that being advantage. thank you very much.
>> thank you. are there any other further public comments? >> i do agree. we are a tourist town and tourism is the number-one industry in the city. all lot of the neighborhoods, they do bring the people in neighborhoods, especially those that did the drop on, drop off. you were talking about with the entertainment commission, lately i've noticed they are allowed. the commissioner says that if you go to new york can you go overseas to these other cities where they deplore on -- where they depend on headphones.
>> we are talking about a very well capitalized industry. on the whole, the tour operators with these very large buses are not small mom-and-pop, they are in some cases multinational businesses. i can think of two. i don't think that this is a hardship in a technological age and thinking about language access, this will be fine for them. i do support it and i think we should have a motion. >> would you like to propose a motion? >> i would like to move to support this and suggest working with the smallest locally owned operators to develop an implementation plan for them.